What Did President Obama Eat in Thailand? All of This.

[Photographs: Leela Punyaratabandhu]

Like most Thais who like to keep up with what's happening in American-Thai relations, I was interested in every detail of president Obama's brief visit to the country of Thailand a few weeks ago.

I wondered what he and the king talked about when he was given the royal audience. I wondered what he and the abbot of the famous Wat Pho talked about when they walked around one of the largest and oldest temples in Thailand together. I wondered what issues came up during the press conference he gave jointly with Prime Minister Shinawatra. I wondered...

Mee Krob

Okay. Fine. Who am I kidding? More than anything else, I wondered what the President ate. This is of utter importance, people! I wondered, no, I needed to know what the government of Thailand, a country known for taking food very seriously, served Obama at a special dinner in his honor.


Tipped off by news anchor and TV host Prinya Ruenprapan I got a hold of the official dinner menu which was taken by vocalist Mary Ungrangsee who was one of the guests at the state dinner along with her renowned conductor husband, Bundit Ungrangsee.

Somewhat surprised by some of the dishes, I wrote a post on my blog about it, listing out my random thoughts.


But I was lucky enough to speak with chef Vichit Mukura of Sala Rim Naam who was in charge of executing the dinner. Executive chef of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, he's long been the trusted person by the Thai Government House for these important dining events. According to him, the prime minister had her own idea of what she wanted on the menu and these suggestions were communicated to the kitchen. The goal: to create a meal that represents what Thai people actually eat. And many of the dishes can actually be found at your local Thai restaurants, which means you too can dine like a dignitary (well, almost).

Check out all of the dishes from the Obama dinner in Thailand, which I recreated at home. Stay tuned for some of these recipes to appear in my weekly Thai column.